Thankful for family visits

Published 4:59 pm Friday, June 2, 2017

If you are fortunate enough to live close to your family members, be thankful.

We just traveled 1,890 miles round trip, driving four days total, to attend the high school graduation of our twin grandchildren in Ohio. I’m not complaining, you understand. It was worth every mile spent to get there. Because our families all live in the north, we rarely get to see them.

We have 12 grandchildren, but these twins are the ones with whom we have always had the closest relationship. We were there at the hospital in Columbus, Ohio, the day they were born, and we lived close enough during their infant and toddler years to be able to babysit frequently. We have great memories of those kids as little ones. When we first moved south to northern Alabama, we were within an easy day’s drive back to them and continued to see them regularly.

Since moving to Bainbridge, we have only seen them once a year, if that. And all of a sudden they have grown up, will turn 19 on Sunday, and will be heading off to college in the fall.

We know from past experience that once they are in college, they are pretty much gone from the circle of extended family for a while.

So this was an extremely special trip. The weather was ideal — Highs in the 70’s and lows in the 50’s. There were lots of out-door parties of celebration, and even though they were busily attending one party after another, we enjoyed some special time together as we worked getting ready for their party.  We also lent our voices to the hurrahs at the graduation ceremony.

Most importantly, I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with my son and his wife as we walked the beautiful Inniswood Metro Gardens and shopped at two outstanding garden centers. My son, who works in the landscaping business, also graduated last week. He received his degree in landscape architecture. There is even more reason to celebrate, as he has attended classes part-time while working in the field for three years or more.

Though long, the trip was pleasant enough. There were no close calls on the road and it was a joy to finally see US 27 North four-way completed all the way. The joy of the ride was somewhat dimmed by the constant change of speed on 27 from 65 to 55 on many stretches of the highway. One has to wonder why, when there is all that beautiful highway and you don’t really go through any towns until Colquitt. But it is heavily patrolled and we did see the State Troopers in action, stopping cars that had exceeded the posted limits.

Much as we enjoyed the scenery, as we drove along, our car packed to the gills with everything we thought we would need, we think next time we will consider flying.

That is, if we can learn to pack lighter.